The Dos And Don’ts Of Sealing A Deck
Are you aware of the proper process of sealing a deck? In order to make your deck look outstanding for the upcoming outdoor summer plans, read below for what you need to know.
Your deck is the best place to relax and enjoy the good weather during the summer. If you want to get the most out of it though, you need to take good care of it. There is so much information floating around about deck care though, you don’t even know where to start. Here are some dos and don’ts of sealing a deck, so you know where to get started.
Do Seal Your Deck At The Right Time
Timing is key when sealing your deck. You need to ensure you’re applying product in the right time frame, so you can get the most from it.
If you’re looking to seal a brand new deck, you’ll need to give it at least 30 days before you start sealing it. That’s because a brand new deck is still too wet, and will need some time to dry out. The best way to see if your deck is ready for sealing is to pour some water on it. If the water beads up, then your deck is still too wet. If it soaks it up though, it’s ready for sealing.
The time of day and weather will also dictate when you should seal your deck. You want a clear, dry day to seal it so the seal can get dry and cure. It’s best to apply it during the day too, as the sealant won’t evaporate in the hot afternoon sun.
Don’t Apply On Damp Or Frosty Decks
If your deck is damp or frosty, it won’t be able to properly take on the sealant you want to use. At best, you’ll end up with a blotchy-looking deck, and that’s not what you’re going for. At worst, you’ll see the sealant start to bead up instead of being absorbed, so the wood won’t get the protection it needs.
Do Pick The Right Sealant
This is where many homeowners slip up. There are so many different options, which one should you choose? This very much depends on what you’re looking for from your sealant. You can choose from any of the following:
Sealant: This is what will protect against moisture damage. They have waterproof or water repellent properties and are usually thicker than wood stains. They don’t have any pigmentation though, and won’t provide as much UV protection as other products on the market.
Stains: These will always have pigmentation in them, which will add color to your deck as well as adding UV protection. However, they only offer moderate protection against moisture.
Paint: There are several deck paints on the market, and they are usually oil or latex-based. Be aware that if there’s any moisture left in your deck, the paint can bubble or chip away. Paint will offer UV and moisture damage but doesn’t last as long as stain or sealant.
Many homeowners choose a combined stain and sealant, as this gives the wood color while protecting it. It’s up to you, so choose the option that works best for you and your deck.
Don’t Start Without Preparing Your Deck
You can’t head out as soon as you have your sealant and apply it right onto the deck. You need to prepare the wood first, so it’s ready for sealing.
First, inspect the deck. You’re looking for any problems with the wood, such as cracking, splitting, or pest damage. Termites are the most common pest issue with decks but don’t discount the fact that animals can nest under there, too. If you find any damage, have it repaired before you get started.
Next, wash the deck to remove any grime. A power washer is best to scrub the deck clean, ready for sealing. Finally, after 24 hours of drying, sand the wood to create the best sealing surface. Sand the entire surface, even if there are sections that are still sealed. Any previous sealant will stop the new sealant from penetrating the wood.
Finally, sweep the deck thoroughly to remove any dust and dirt. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to begin.
Do Use The Right Tools
There are several tools you can use for your deck, to ensure that the sealant is applied in an even layer. You can choose between a paintbrush, a roller, or a paint sprayer, so pick the one that’s right for you. You can use a pole so you can apply from a standing position, or on your hands and knees; if you do that, knee pads are very much recommended.
Don’t Apply A Thick Layer
When applying sealant to the deck, the thickness of the application is important. You’ll usually only need one layer, and it needs to be fairly thick. This allows it to be absorbed by the wood and get full protection. Laying the sealant on too thick will result in peeling and chipping.
If you need to apply a second layer, it’s best to do so only after you’ve allowed the first layer to dry for at least 24 hours.
Do Leave Your Deck For 48 Hours
Now you’ve got a full layer of brand new sealant on your deck, you don’t want to disturb it. You want to stay off your deck for at least 48 hours, which gives it enough time to dry and fully protect your deck. You may need to block entrances from the house, to remind family members not to step on it. After 48 hours, the sealant should be fully dry.
Don’t Forget To Seal The Deck Every Year
This is a general rule, to ensure that you keep your deck in good condition. If you live in a sunnier area, you really need to seal your deck every year. If you live in colder climates, you can get away with resealing the deck once every two or three years.
Now you know exactly how you should go about sealing your deck. And if you ever need assistance, it’s ideal to call in the professionals. Take care of it, and it will be able to last for decades into the future.